7.2/10
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23 user 11 critic

The Pawnshop (1916)

Charlie competes with his fellow shop assistant. He is fired by the pawnbroker and rehired. He nearly destroys everything in the shop and and himself. He helps capture a burglar. He destroys a client's clock while examining it in detail.

Director:

Charles Chaplin

Writer:

Charles Chaplin
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charles Chaplin ... Pawnbroker's assistant
Henry Bergman Henry Bergman ... Pawnbroker
Edna Purviance ... His daughter
John Rand John Rand ... Other assistant
Albert Austin Albert Austin ... Client with clock
Eric Campbell Eric Campbell ... Crook
James T. Kelley ... Old bum (as James T Kelley)
Frank J. Coleman Frank J. Coleman ... Policeman
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Storyline

Charlie, the not-so-punctual and dependable pawnbroker's assistant, starts his day with his usual duties at the pawnshop--a bit of dusting; some polishing up, and above all, a lot of quarrelling with his co-worker. Before long, a customer arrives--what a fabulous opportunity for Charlie to exhibit his subtle technical skills, and to give his critical scientific evaluation with the use of a rusty can-opener. Then, another client comes, eager to see the diamonds; however, could he be a wolf in sheep's clothing? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Short

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 October 1916 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

At the Sign of the Dollar See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lone Star Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During an early scene, attention is drawn to the calendar on the pawnshop wall, which displays a date of Thursday, March 16. March 16 fell on a Thursday in 1916 - the year this movie was made - and it is entirely possible that the scene in question was filmed on the actual date. See more »

Alternate Versions

Kino International distributes a set of videos containing all the 12 Mutual short films made by Chaplin in 1915 - 1917. They are presented by David Shepard, who copyrighted the versions in 1984, and has a music soundtrack composed and performed by Michael Mortilla who copyrighted his score in 1989. The running time of this film is 25 minutes. See more »

Connections

Featured in Chaplin's Goliath (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant
18 December 2004 | by luciferjohnsonSee all my reviews

One of the funniest movies every made, and definitely one of Chaplin's finest. It refreshingly lacks the pathos that Chaplin (sometimes unwisely) inserted in his later movies.

This short is memorable because of its unrelenting comedy "business," such as the famous scene in which a customer brings in an alarm clock and Chaplin examines it like a doctor, eventually taking a pair of pliers and yanking out its innards. This and other routines were later stolen by other comedians. For example, the scene in which an old actor comes in to sell a ring. This bit was stolen, in every single detail--down to Chaplin spitting crackers while crying--by Abbott & Costello.

Chaplin's constant tussling with another shop assistant, played by John Rand, is hilarious. Oddly, Rand did not receive screen credit for his role, even though he appears in almost every scene and is brilliant.

The Pawn Shop also provided good roles for other Chaplin regulars, including Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Albert Austin (as the customer with the clock), and Henry Bergmann as the pawn shop proprietor.

One interesting sidelight to this film is that the Bergmann character wears a skullcap and is identifiably Jewish--which is accurate enough, given that most urban pawnshops were owned by Jewish people at the time. This means that two of the main characters, he and Purviance, were Jewish. That was unusual at the time, particularly because the characters are not stereotyped.


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